Book Review: Diplomatic Immunity by Bujold (3 Stars)

Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

3 out of 5 stars

Ready in May 2010

I read this as part of the omnibus edition Miles, Mutants & Microbes and as the Beyond Reality book club series selection for May 2010.

On the return trip from their delayed honeymoon, Miles and his wife are diverted by Emperor Gregor to do diplomatic damage control duty in Quaddiespace. Since they are expecting twins back home on Barrayar (via the ultraconvenient uterine replicators), they are anxious to mop up the mess and be on their way. Like an onion, the layers of mystery unpeel slowing, revealing a deeper, more sinister meaning behind an otherwise manageable diplomatic gaffe.

I liked this story, but didn’t love it. After the last two superb novels, as encapsulated in Miles in Love, this one was a bit of a let down.

Book Review: Miles in Love by Bujold (4+ Stars)

Miles in Love by Lois McMaster Bujold

4 out of 5 stars

Read in March 2010

This omnibus edition contains the following works:

Komar (4 stars)

A Civil Campaign (5 stars)

The novella ‘Winterfair Gifts’ (4 stars)

‘Winterfair Gifts’ grants us a glimpse of Vorkosigan House through the eyes of Roic, the newest member of the armsmen, infamous for his spectacular brief rescue of Dr. Borgas and his assistants in A Civil Campaign. Roic feels he failed Lord Miles then and second-guesses himself constantly. Galactic gifts and guests begin to arrive for Miles and Ekaterrin’s wedding, further stressing Roic’s confidence and competence. Taura’s arrival further confuses Roic and eventually places him in the unenviable position of accuser tempered with trust.

Quite a different viewpoint, a newcomer to Miles’ orbit looking on with confusion and awe as Miles spins and whirls, gathering great friends and cunning enemies like a singularity traps light itself.

My favorite Vorkosigan Saga omnibus to date. Only one more to go and then a few months wait for the publication of CryoBurn.

Book Review: A Civil Campaign by Bujold (5 Stars)

A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

5 out of 5 stars

Read in March 2010

I cried. I raged. I laughed. I laughed some more. Any author who can make me care so much about characters who don’t exist deserves five stars.

A Civil Campaign picks up just three months after Komarr. Ekaterrin and Nikki returned to Barrayar to live with her aunt and uncle so she can attend university. Miles not-so-cleverly thought to persuade Ekaterrin to create a public park next to Vorkosigan House in Vorbarr Sultanna just so he could see her everyday and to get a leg-up on the competition for the widow’s hand. Eventually, this plan backfires — spectacularly.

While the preparations for the Emperor’s Wedding swing into high gear, the political scandals among the Counts seem in a mad rush to pick up the pace. Miles crosses that minefield nearly intact and Ivan matures enough to help the Empire, but learns something new about his mother which drives him to drink, temporarily, to ease the shock.

I loved this novel, but I’m sad that I’m nearly to the end of the Vorkosigan Saga series. This installment was the best of the bunch to date.

Book Review: Komarr by Bujold (4 Stars)

Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold

4 out of 5 stars

Read in March 2010

I connected deeply with the character Ekaterin. Her predicament broke my heart at times. Miles’ heart melted as well.

Komarr takes place just three months after Memory. Miles acquires an Auditor Mentor in Ekaterin’s uncle Vorthys. Both Imperial Auditors arrive at Komarr to investigate a tragic and seemingly inexplicable near space accident involving an ore freighter and the Komarran solar mirror array. Each Auditor brought a different perspective and expertise to the investigation. Vorthys’ engineering background appeared at first blush to be the most vital asset, but when extra parts, including body, were discovered and retrieved, Miles’ unique talents became a necessity.

Mystery, sabotage, embezzlement, get-rich-quick schemes, murder, kidnapping and revolution round out the hurdles to Miles’ blossoming love life.

Bujold keeps delivering and I keep reading. Highly recommended to space opera junkies everywhere.

Book Review: Memory by Bujold (4 Stars)

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold

4 out of 5 stars

Ready in February 2010

Miles turns thirty and thirty hits back … hard. This will be a short sweet review lacking in many details because nearly everything and anything I say will be a spoiler. Miles walks through some of his deepest, desperate valleys and climbs to new heights of integrity, honor and satisfaction. I stayed up late and woke up early just so I could keep reading.

One of the best installments in the Vorkosigan Saga. I highly recommend it to space opera fans.

Book Review: Miles Errant by Bujold (4 Stars)

Miles Errant by Lois McMaster Bujold

4 out of 5 stars

Read in January 2010

Omnibus edition that contains the following works:

The short story ‘The Borders of Infinity’ (see short review below)

Brothers in Arms

Mirror Dance

This omnibus edition didn’t include any author’s note or forward. It did include a time line for Miles as an addendum.

Overall, the series took a more serious and dramatic turn in these two novels and short story. Oddly, I look forward to reading each new novel because the concept is so different from what I’m used to in a fantasy series. Miles isn’t on a quest, he’s not the ‘Chosen One’, he’s not cursed, he’s not magically endowed beyond reason nor does he have a wizardly mentor leading him around by the nose. He uses his talents, his intelligence, his wit and his heart to great effect. He inspires others to exceed their perceived limitations, even some enemies.

I am looking forward to reading the next novel Memory next month.

Review of “The Borders of Inifity” Short Story: If you’ve ever wondered how Miles would survive and persevere as a prisoner of war, this story answers that question exceptionally well.

Book Review: Mirror Dance by Bujold (3.5 Stars)

Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold

3.5 out of 5 stars

Read in January 2010

I read this novel as part of the omnibus edition Miles Errant.

Miles’ six years younger twin brother, Mark, garners most of the screen time in Mirror Dance. Less lighthearted fun and more unhinged passion and desperation pervades while we focus on Mark. Miles’ fate remains unknown for much of the story.

I enjoyed Mark meeting Aral and Cordelia. Miles’ mother treated me to some wonderful scenes with Mark or that Mark overheard. Sadly, Aral suffers nearly the same fate as Miles. But no one suffers a fate worse than death better than Mark. At times, I feared I was reading a horror novel.

But all is well that ends well and Mirror Dance succeeds on that front.

Book Review: Brothers in Arms by Bujold (3.5 Stars)

Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold

Read in January 2010 as part of the omnibus edition Miles Errant.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Miles shakes the Cetagandans off the Dedarii Mercenaries’ tail and seeks sanctuary on Old Earth for repairs and recuperation. But something is rotten in London, where Miles repeatedly tries to collect the mercenary troops’ back pay and expenses. His investigation turns up a Komarran plot that threatens, you guessed it, the Barrayaran Empire at the highest levels. Believability was only stretched to the breaking point for one seemingly whimsical plot point that Miles pulled out of thin air to avoid an investigative reporter … which actually turned out to be true and bite him in the rear.

Miles managed to solve the various mysteries, save the Empire, get his mercenaries paid, get the girl, save his brother and salvage an almost enemy’s career. Too bad he missed out on touring Old Earth in all the excitement.

Book Review: Miles Mystery & Mayhem by Bujold (4 Stars)

Miles Mystery & Mayhem by Lois McMaster Bujold

4 out of 5 stars

Miles, Mystery & Mayhem is an omnibus edition containing the following three stories:


Ethan of Athos

Labyrinth (see short review below)

Of the three, Cetaganda was my favorite. Ethan of Athos was a good story, but introduced a new character and re-used a minor character for a previous adventure, completely excluding Miles.

The omnibus included an informative Vorkosigan timeline.

Review of Labyrinth

I liked this Miles adventure, but not as well as all the ones that came before. Miles seemed different, not nearly as witty, and just plain off his game. The whole weird affair with Taura is just that … weird.

Book Review: Ethan of Athos by Bujold (3.5 Stars)

Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold

3.5 out of 5 stars

Read in November 2009 as part of the Miles, Mystery & Mayhem omnibus edition.

Miles is completely absent from this Vorkosigan series installment. Elli Quinn returns, with a new face and a new mission. The story is told mostly from the point-of-view of Ethan. Again, the theme swirls around genetics and reproduction, but definitely with a twist. The flip side of the female controlled genetic finesse of Cetaganda proves to be Athos, an all male planet rapidly running out of viable ovary cultures at their Rep Centers. When the batch of new ovaries is sabotaged, Athos sends Ethos to personally select, purchase and escort the replacements.

Even though I missed Miles, Elli and Ethan managed to keep me hopping and flipping pages. Nearly all the action takes place on the Kline space station. Mystery, torture, murder, galactic genetic experiments, political intrigue bordering on genocide – just about everything you’ve come to expect from Bujold’s imagination.

A fun, fast read and a nice addition to the Vorkosigan series.